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Re: [humanism-174] Fwd: Bogus Louisiana Teacher Survey Used to Support Centr...

From: Randy P.
Sent on: Monday, January 28, 2013 10:48 PM
Sorry. But I can never tell when you are being facetious, so it is not obvious to me.

I did watch the Wubbo Ockels video. It was intellectual torture. Overall his talk was a version of the kind of nonsense that comes out of Deepak Chopra's mouth. Just a lot of Deepak Deepities. In his case I'll call them Wubbo Wackies or maybe Wubbo Weirdness. 

Anyway his talk was nonsense made to sound somewhat scientific by his insertion throughout of a little bit of science (references to Einstein without actually providing anything from Einstein that would support his bizarre hypothesis) and some equations. Sprinkle your talk with enough equations and actual science and you can probably fool most of the people most of the time.

I actually took the time to transcribe parts of his talk and then made comments following the transcribed parts. Here are my raw notes. My comments are in red. Transcribed comments from Ockels are in blue. His talk opens with bullshit nonsense, it ends with bullshit nonsense, and in between we are taken on a journey through the Twilight Zone, passing through Alice's wonderland rabbit hole, past the Land of Oz, on our way to the Kingdom of Woo Woo, and then a plunge into the abyss of intellectual blackness. You want to know what I thought? Well there you have it. 


His hypothesis: "Time is a creation of life in response to gravity."

He equates this hypothesis with Descartes famous saying, "I think, therefore I am."

His version is "I live thus time passes."

Bullshit! Only a fool would accept the notion that time is an effect of life. The Universe existed for about[masked] billion years before the rise of sentient life capable of pondering such things as the universe and time. It is totally, completely, absolutely illogical and irrational to think that time does not exist independent of our existence. Whatever time is, and there remains debate about this, it is clear that it is built into the very fabric of the cosmos. If every living creature on Earth and elsewhere in the universe, assuming there is extraterrestrial life, were to disappear this instant, the universe would continue on and time with it. This should be evident to anyone who has an understanding of the physical laws of the universe and whose brain has not been infected by the woo woo virus. This Dr. Ockels' brain is, I think, infested with the virus
"Time is a creation of life in response to gravity. This has am immediate implication. That our time is a creation of our life. Our time is created by our life in response to our Earth gravity."
He makes all kinds of wild and wacky assertions. But offers to evidence to demonstrate the truth of these claims.
He makes the claim that we think our time is the center of everything. Who is this we? Certainly scientists make no such claims. He pulled this out of his asshole.
He even gets his facts wrong. "We even say that 13.6 billion years ago the whole universe started." No, we say that 13.7 billion years ago the universe started.
"A different life with a different gravity can generate a different time." 
Where's the evidence for this claim. It is true that the rate at which time flows will vary depending upon your rate of acceleration. But this rate goes completely unnoticed and has no consequences for or effects on us unless you are actually moving at an acceleration very close to the speed of light. There aren't any planets that we know of traveling more than a small fraction of the speed of light. And the laws of physics as we understand them pretty much restrict plants to speeds no more than a tiny fraction of the speed of light.
He talks about people sitting in their seats and while sitting there they don't move. He contrasts this with being in space and says that in space you always move when a force is applied to you. Well when you are sitting in your seat on earth you'll move if someone or something applies a force of sufficient magnitude to overcome your inertia. In addition, you are moving while sitting in your seat. This damn idiot completely ignores the fact that the earth is moving. As a body on its surface you are moving with it. The detection of motion is all relative to a frame of reference. Sitting in my seat it feels that I am at rest. But to an observer in a frame of reference in which you are outside the earth and able to observe its motion, you would know that everything on the surface of that planet is moving around the Sun at an average orbital velocity of 107,200 km/h.
He talks about some experiment where he blindfolded one of his fellow astronauts, gave him a twirl and then asked him to point at the ceiling. He failed. He then says, but without providing any evidence from a similar experiment conducted here on Earth, that on Earth you can point to the ceiling. I doubt this, provided that the blindfold is a perfect seal and the experiment is set up to eliminate any possible environmental cues to where the ceiling might be.
From this he draws the conclusion that it is not space that is unique (which of course is not a claim that science makes) but rather Earth that is unique. (Well it may well be but his little demonstration certainly doesn't establish this and if it is unique it would likely be because of its combination of physical, chemical, biological traits and characteristics and not because of this nonsense about time that he postulates.
He talks about speed of light and Einstein. Sprinkle in some actual science talk and you can make the nonsense sound like its scientific to the mind that does not detect that no actuall connection has been made between the science talked about and the woo woo hypothesis offered. This is just a variation of Deepak Chopra deepities.
He says he talks as a physicist and as a philosopher. Then he says that what he is saying sounds strange from a physics perspective but is not all that strange from a philosphical perspective. Bullshit. What he says is both bad physics and bad philosophy.
He says "You can do experiments and show it that we make time"; he says the making of time is due to some program in our brain. But does he offer a reference or citation to any of these experiments and the published research from them? Does he even describe any of these experiment? No.
"But the real thing that we need to do is get physics onboard. Because the physicists still believe that time is universal; that time is something outside. If we all die time is still there." Well of course they do. Do you think this clown offers any evidence that this is not the case? Does he offer any good reason why scientists should adopt his hypothesis and abandon the current understanding of time? No. Not one iota of evidence. Not one logical argument supported by research, experimentally-derived data. Hell, he doesn't even offer any research or data from an experiment that tests the hypothesis he offered at the start of his talk.
His daring conclusions: (As shown on the slides accompanying his talk)
1. The speed of light is ours. The speed of light is contant because of us.
2. The Big Bang is an illusion...dark matter and energy is just what we don't see.
3. Unification of quantum theory Q(t) and gravitational theory G(t): by substitution T(g) one gets Q(g). (sprinkle in some science and equations and you fool a lot of people into thinking you've said something profoundly true.)
This is all nonsense offered as fact without a scrap of evidence to support it. Although the latter part of Daring conclusion #2 is technically true.
"Time is not independent of gravity. We make it. Time is in fact a function of gravity. So why not substitute that into all the formulas of Quantum physics. And what you end up, is you eliminate time. Suddenly you have a formalism in which you have quantum physics expressed in gravity."

This is a mishmash of mumble jumbo and outright idiocy. There is no evidence that time is a function of gravity. 
Has he published this hypothesis and any experimentally-derived research on this hypothesis in a peer-reviewed scientific journal? Why is he bringing this to a general-audience public forum like TED before presenting it to the scientific community, the theoretical physicists in particular, to examine, debate and judge?
"But the most important conclusion is that if we are managing to get out of this chronocentrism, if we get beyond this part of the enigma, then we might see extraterrestrial life."
More craziness. This guy left a boatload of his marbles in space during his trip aboard the space shuttle. He seems to have had some kind of mystical epiphany that led him to this absurd hypothesis of he said would change the lives of everyone there. My thought was, "You buffoon. That is 20 minutes of my life I'll never get back." The only thing that changed in my life after listening to this batshit crazy idea was my previously held assumption that no one could top Deepak Chopra for utterning absurdities. I was wrong.
A history lesson
100 AD, Ptolemy: geocentric
1543, Copernicus: heliocentric
1900, ?: chronocentric
"Around 1900 we learned that the speed of light is constant (and that)put time in the center..."
"And now I'm inviting you to lose chronocentrism... Throw away this time reference and start thinking and imagining what could happen."
He's inviting everyone to join him in lala land; to take a journey to the Kingdom of Woo Woo. The cost to take this journey? A complete abandonment of your critical thinking faculties and of reason. Welcome to the Twilight Zone.
"I think its time to put in a disclaimer. I could be wrong. I could be totally wrong. But wouldn't it be sad. Wouldn't it be really sad. Can you imagine that with this new thinking thousands of young people can use their brain and imagination to work the formulas out. Hundreds of technicians could work out new technologies, new instruments, new telescopes, new computers, whatever you can find. And, then suddenly with all this investment which we put together globally, we have set up this large experiment where the press will sit, where scientists will sit, like in a mission control room, a big screen and in front of the big screen you have the principle investigator looking at the screen and turning on the experiment of humanity. And he looks at the screen (Oh Boy! Peering through his crystal ball he is going to tell us what is going to happen. Great experiment when you already know what is going to happen.) and then he's going to see for the very first time signals of the external intelligence.Suddenly realizing that this whole universe is vastly filled with life. Suddenly realizing that there's a new hope for humanity beyond the boundaries of the Earth. (All this and we haven't done the experiment yet? WOW! AMAZING!) Suddenly putting everything we had before in a different perspective. Wouldn't that be wonderful? Wouldn't that be really wonderful? Wouldn't that be wonderful? 
And then the audience applauds. They should have instead been shouting this moron off the stage. They should have been mocking and ridiculing him. They should have all broken out in a loud collective burst of laughter, while pointing their fingers at him in a mocking fashion.
WOW! From this hypothesis alone he has built for us a whole new improved world and we don't even know yet if the hypothesis is correct. This is truly amazing stuff (head on table, facepalm, exasperation).

From: TC3 <[address removed]>
To: [address removed]
Sent: Monday, January 28,[masked]:12 AM
Subject: Re: [humanism-174] Fwd: Bogus Louisiana Teacher Survey Used to Support Centr...

You're an intellectual / idiot sometimes Randy. I swear. lol

I know damn well we evolve through time. I can even explain how DNA codes with matter from varying environments. I was OBVIOUSLY being facetious. That is the redneck go to quote. They look at the standard evolution picture of ape to man, and think it is a picture of a morphogenesis. "Nuh uh man aint no caterpillar!" It's obvious to us that's a picture of thousand of years.

Did you watch the Wubbo Ockels video I recently posted? I'm curious to hear your thoughts on the topic.

On Sun, Jan 27, 2013 at 9:41 PM, Randy Pelton <[address removed]> wrote:

You are astonishingly uninformed and uneducated about evolution. We did not evolve from Monkeys. We and Monkeys have a common ancestor at some point in the past. 


From: TC3 <[address removed]>
To: [address removed]
Sent: Sunday, January 27,[masked]:27 AM

Subject: Re: [humanism-174] Fwd: Bogus Louisiana Teacher Survey Used to Support Centr...

Yeah well, if we evolved from monkeys, then why is there still monkeys?!

On Wed, Jan 23, 2013 at 9:59 AM, Tim Campbell <[address removed]> wrote:
Quibble quibble quibble.  Mark, Nobody--me or Randy or anyone else--ever made ANY claims as to what hominid or population of hominids was the specific progenitor to Homo Sapiens, and you are fully aware of this FACT (used as an absolute truth).  You want to quibble, when you say "it" is not a fact, to what do you refer as being "it"?  Evolution in general? human evolution? the existence of a human lineage? Humans sharing a common ancestor with other apes? With other mammals?
Every time I or Randy used the word "fact" we used it provisionally. And we both are fully aware of the gaps in time and fossils regarding specific human lineage.  Indirect evidence might or might not convict a murderer, but in this case it is more than enough to draw a number of strong conclusions. 
A book I might recommend is FROM LUCY TO LANGUAGE--name of author eludes me and I am nowhere near my library.  Lots of pictures.
Tim Campbell
In a message dated 1/23/2013 4:31:25 A.M. Eastern Standard Time, [address removed] writes:

"Surely you have a belief in one or the other, however weakly held."

No, I really don't, postmodernism describes my philosophical
bent perfectly. 


I do not have a problem with evolution.  My quibble from the
beginning was specific to the use of the word fact as it related
to the evidence available to the specific progenitor that Homo
Sapiens advanced from.  Until that is established it is not fact. 
This is your field, if you have information to a direct link from 
Homo Sapiens to ... I would very much like to see it. 

Using your link as a quick example (not specific to my point):

However, the authors argued that the overall body plan was australopithecine, and hence put it in
that genus. This seems to be the conservative and safest plan; even if they are right in their claims
about sediba, the fossils do not seem out of place in Australopithecus, whereas putting them in
Homo would have run the risk of needing to reclassify them later if they did not turn out to be very
closely related to Homo. It would also, as Chris Stringer pointed out in an interview, require "a major
redefinition" of the genus Homo.

In summary, it's an important discovery even though we don't yet know exactly how it fits into the
family tree and what it means for human origins. Refreshingly, the discoverers have been fairly
restrained in their claims about the fossil, and are keeping other options in mind.

The family tree looks more like a bush than a tree. 

M. Orel

On[masked] 11:26, Glen wrote:
Mark, I'm puzzled by your comments:
"My problem still lies with the use of the word: fact... 
The evidence, relative to homo sapiens is anecdotal, theory, modeling, and scenario.  If you have seen something to the contrary I would very
much like to see it and be happy to be corrected."

You've had it corrected before, yet you seem less than eager to accept it. I am not sure exactly how you are using the words "modeling" and "scenario," but our scientific understanding of human evolution is based on a lot more than weak or dubious evidence as your remarks suggest, but on lots of hard evidence from fossils and DNA studies.  There's really no excuse for not being familiar with it, since there are countless books, articles, and web sites describing it. 

I'm also puzzled when Mark writes:

"So does evolution happen?  Yes.  Did we evolve from a sub-
species?  Probably, maybe, kinda, sorta.  Is it a fact? No."

What are you suggesting, that all other creatures evolved, put maybe humans did not - even tho we have many hominid fossils with intermediate traits? Do you think maybe evolution was the way all other creatures originated, including hominids, but that God suddenly and directly created modern humans? Does that make sense to you?  Please be clear on exactly what you are suggesting, if not that. Bottom line: while the details of evolution are continually being refined, that we evolved is well supported and accepted among scientists, and most do not hesitate to call it a fact.  

Let me close by asking, do you have any other reason for questioning  human evolution other than the perceived weakness of the scientific evidence? I only ask because I've run into quite a few people who, regardless of the scientific evidence, have a lot of trouble accepting human evolution for personal and/or religious reasons. Some admit they are fine with evolution for other life forms, but just can't buy it for humans, even tho some can't explain why. I'm not saying you are one (for you, is it just a scientific issue?) but some people just have a need to see humans s very "special" and inherently different than other life forms. Frankly, I'm not ashamed to be a "monkey's uncle."  

On[masked]:26, Chris K wrote:

I believe you are being a bit of an obscurantist to say,

" I do not know, as one may not
exclude the other",

in reply to my question:

"Do you believe in a divine creation of life on earth or do you believe the theory of evolution is the best explanation for the diversity of life?" 

Surely you have a belief in one or the other, however weakly held.


Sent from my ayayayphone

On Jan 22, 2013, at 3:45 AM, "Mark R. Orel" <[address removed]> wrote:

First off, thank you Mike, for giving me what I asked for
in the first place, the use of the word fact.  Now that you
all seem to agree to its use I see that certainty is not
the context.  We all agree. 

Next, Chris to answer your questions: 

"Do you believe in a divine creation of life on earth or do you believe the theory of evolution
is the best explanation for the diversity of life?"
  I do not know, as one may not
exclude the other. 

"Do you think there really is some controversy or conspiratorial cover-up going on within the
ranks of science to suppress the teaching of ideas like ID in school?"  
It is not something
that has concerned me, as of this moment I do not have enough information to answer,
other than to say that at this moment I do not know.   I will say there does seem to be
some controversy.  I do not know, nor have I heard of a conspiratorial cover-up. 

To Chris and Glen:
"Do you think that denying certain scientific ideas based on nothing but personal religious
conviction is a good quality for a scientist to possess?
"So, anyone who believes in a flat earth and geocentrism cannot be a legitimate scientist?"

It depends on whether or not they are in conflict.  If a young Earth-er is probing the dynamics
of the sun I do not see a conflict.  If a scientist, regardless of religion carries a bias to a
predetermined  conclusion I think that is not a good quality to possess. 

To Glen and Randy:
 "...if humans did not evolve, what do you make of all the hominid fossils?" 
"To refer to the evidence for human evolution as "anecdotal, theory, modeling, and
scenario" reveals a serious lack of understanding of both evolution in general and
human evolution in particular."

I never said that humans did not evolve.  What I said was: After 200,000 I
see the words "somehow related", "experts cannot agree on",
"formulating scenarios", "various models", "probably",
"several theories".  These phrases relate to our, homo sapien,
.  There are many theories to this specific point that cross
many disciplines.  It's kind of like the Unification theory in particle physics.
The holy grail is to unify them into one theory. 

To Chris:  "A study published as recently as last fall has shown that the similarities in
modern human and neandertal DNA could be due exclusively to shared ancestry. "

Would you send me a link to that paper? 

To Randy:  Anecdotal: based on personal experience or
reported observations unverified by controlled experiments. 
Isn't that where science starts? 

M. Orel

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